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We're Doomed! The Dad's Army Story (2015)

A dramatization of the creation of the BBC's classic sitcom Dad's Army (1968).


Steve Bendelack (as Stephen Bendelack)


Stephen Russell




Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Ritter ... Jimmy Perry
Richard Dormer ... David Croft
Stuart McQuarrie ... Tom Sloan
Sarah Alexander ... Gilda Perry
Sally Phillips ... Ann Croft
Charlotte McDougall Charlotte McDougall ... Pat Coombs
Harry Peacock ... Michael Mills
Keith Allen ... Paul Fox
Amy Hughes ... Sylvia
John Sessions ... Arthur Lowe
Amy O'Dwyer Amy O'Dwyer ... Waitress
Ralph Riach ... John Laurie
Michael Cochrane ... Arnold Ridley
Mark Heap ... Clive Dunn
Julian Sands ... John Le Mesurier


In 1967 actor Jimmy Perry shows his friend David Croft the script of a sitcom he has written based on his time in the Home Guard, entitled 'Fighting Tigers'. Head of BBC TV comedy Michael Mills likes it, changing its title to 'Dad's Army' though, to Jimmy 's dismay, he refuses to let him act in it. He commissions Jimmy and David to write a whole series, despite TV controller Paul Fox's misgivings that the Second World War is too fresh in people's mind to be comedic. The pilot goes ahead with an ensemble cast keen to perform despite a low wage and some with problems of their own, notably star Arthur Lowe's tendency to forget his lines, and Jimmy is thrilled that wartime favourite Bud Flanagan is performing its theme song. In April 1968 the first show is recorded in front of an enthusiastic test audience. Fox is less generous in his opinion but the viewing figures ensure the show's future, running for nine series and becoming one of the best-loved of all British television sitcoms. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | History


Did You Know?


The drama alleges that Jon Pertwee turned down the role of Mainwaring because he wasn't being offered enough money. The truth of this is unclear, although Pertwee would often complain about his money on Doctor Who (1963) and, according to his successor Tom Baker, he "found it physically impossible to buy a drink". See more »


Set in 1967 there is a scene at the BBC when actor Trevor Eve is called to see the executives, this is unlikely as Trevor Eve was only 16 years old in 1967. See more »


Arnold Ridley: I ran a film company that went bust before the war. And I made the very bad decision to sell off the rights to all my plays so I could pay everyone off, quickly. Never ever do this. Writers must always hold on to their bloody rights!
Jimmy Perry: Why didn't you write more plays?
Arnold Ridley: The ideas dried up. The ones I had were mucked about with. You're lucky. You're on set, in charge. Make the most of it. Some writers can end up as old actors.
Arnold Ridley: [laughs] A terrible, terrible thing!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening titles, with wording contained in broad arrows, in the style of the title sequence for Dad's Army (1968): "Some scenes in this film are imagined. BUT DON'T PANIC! Most of this really happened." See more »


References Hi-de-Hi! (1980) See more »

User Reviews

They don't like it up em
24 December 2015 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

Paul Fox as Controller of BBC1 commissioned Monty Python's Flying Circus. I mention this because according to this drama he is portrayed as a humourless burk.

Then again We're Doomed: The Dad's Army Story needed drama and the best they could come up with that some BBC bigwigs were short-sighted, did not like it and might not broadcast it.

As for the rest Paul Ritter plays it broad as Jimmy Perry, the frustrated actor who turns to writing and writes about his time in the Home Guard. He was very much the Private Pike, fresh faced type. However Jimmy Perry has appeared a lot on television over the years to talk about his successful writing career and seems little like the character portrayed here.

John Sessions known both for acting and impressions does a good turn as Arthur Lowe. Julian Sands a perennial contender for the worst actor in the world award fails to convince as John Le Mesurier; a character that has popped up in other biopics such as Tony Hancock's and Hattie Jacques.

However to me it was the story of Jimmy Perry and David Croft getting an idea for a sitcom off the ground which is still getting great ratings even today with its umpteenth repeat on BBC2.

We have had several making of drama documentaries in the last few years. The best so far has been The Road to Coronation Street, which had a heart and grittiness of the launch of a seminal programme.

This just was pleasant enough. There was some sweet moments such as Arnold Ridley talking with Perry about hitting hard times and had to sell off his rights to his plays. There was the joke about Jon Pertwee being interested in the part until being told how much he was going to be paid. John Laurie being irate that Private Fraser had no fully formed character but he never turned down a part.

It was nice to see Roy Hudd as Bud Flanagan recording the theme song. It was meant to be Flanagan & Allen but Chesney stopped performing due to ill health. Ironically it was the final work done by Flanagan, Chesney lived until the early 1980s.

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Release Date:

22 December 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Making of Dad's Army See more »

Filming Locations:

Northern Ireland, UK

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